Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 272. Today we’ll be talking to Ilit from Joonko about the use case or business case for why her customers choose Joonko.

Joonko connects high quality, underrepresented talent, with world-class companies that care about diversity, equity and inclusion.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think. Thanks, William.

GEM Recruiting AI

Show length: 28 minutes

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Ilit Raz
Founder & CEO Joonko Follow

Announcer (00:02):

Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens, or should happen, when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better, as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment and HR tech. That’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.


William Tincup (00:25):

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s William Tincup and you’re listening to the Use Case podcast. Today we have Ilit on from Joonko and we are learning about the business case or use case that our prospects and customers make for Joonko. So why don’t we start with introductions. Ilit, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and Joonko?


Ilit (00:44):

Sure, absolutely. So thank you for having me.


William Tincup (00:46):



Ilit (00:47):

My name is Ilit from Israel originally. Grew up in Israel, served in the military for eight years in the intelligence unit, it sounds way more scarier than it is. It actually feels like working in a cybersecurity company for eight years. I did a lot of coding and product management. I have a BA in computer science. When I left, I moved to product management for a couple of startups in Israel. Did my MBA in London and volunteered in a couple of different places, that probably brought me to starting Joonko.

Mainly started Joonko as part of my experience as a woman in tech. Joonko is basically helping companies stores automatically high quality pre-vetted, underrepresented minorities. Basically build out a time network between companies that help them exchange their best and finals that ended up not getting the offer, that are also underrepresented minorities. And basically, help them not to invent the wheel every time they think about diversity recruiting. Yeah, that’s me. I think it’s probably fairly unique to have someone who has no idea about HR before starting Joonko, to speaking for talent acquisition and recruiters of coming close to a hundred thousand hours of discussions.


William Tincup (02:15):

Oh, fantastic. So one of the things I wanted to ask you is, when we say diversity and inclusion in the States especially, we’ve kind of amassed that to marginalized and that includes a lot of different folks, right?


Ilit (02:33):



William Tincup (02:34):

And I would assume women as a gender are part of that, or at least as spoke of that. Correct?


Ilit (02:41):



William Tincup (02:42):

Okay. So building a talent community, so if I understand what you said, people apply for a job and then those that don’t get that job then get dropped into a community that then, I would assume, that the company or they use Joonko to then serve up content to kind of keep them fresh or interested in the company itself?


Ilit (03:07):

So not necessarily in the company itself.


William Tincup (03:09):

Got it.


Ilit (03:10):

For a certain amount of window time, yes, but if we can find something for them in the company, then we’ll start offering them jobs from other companies in the network. So I contribute in my share, but I’m getting a hundred and twenty, a hundred and thirty, fifty companies’ candidates in exchange for that. So that’s a win-win game for everyone at the end of the day.


William Tincup (03:29):

Do they buy per candidate? Is it a cost per candidate?


Ilit (03:33):

Per job.


William Tincup (03:34):

Per job?


Ilit (03:35):



William Tincup (03:36):

Okay. And so, the data, where in the workflow do you see Joonko playing out? Is it in the ATS or after the ATS, in the sense of those that didn’t get a job offer?


Ilit (03:53):

So we get it through the ATS itself, we plug it into about 80% of the market share of ATSs. So all the big ones we don’t, without dating them, everyone probably know them. We can’t leave without an ATS because this is what feed us your jobs that we need to promote our candidates from other companies, most and foremost and on the other hand allowing us to understand, “Okay, this candidate, we decided not to move on forward with. At what stage did they drop?” Because if it’s too top of the funnel, we’re not going to bring them in because one of our promises is that all the candidates are not just underrepresented, they’re also super, super high quality. So they got to the finish line with PepsiCo, Walmart, Atlassian, People, those kind of companies. And to make this promise, we have to connect your ATS to understand where they drop.

And one of the reasons that we peaked underrepresented… Sorry, the kind of like bested panels is the assumption or the notion or whatever that people has that if you want to hire diverse candidates, you need to lower the bar.


William Tincup (05:05):

Mm-hmm. Yeah.


Ilit (05:07):

And we said, “You actually don’t need to lower the bar and you can 10 of them if you plug into a platform.”


William Tincup (05:14):

So what I love is that intersection point of high quality and underrepresented. And so you’re at that crossroads and you can offer up candidates per job to folks. How do you keep their data? Again, anything that gets close to proprietary or anything, just shut it down. I’m just curious as to how do you keep the data fresh and with that candidate database that you have, which is high quality and underrepresented, again, that’s a really, really elite kind of a group of people. How do you keep them, say, fresh or interact with them, et cetera?


Ilit (05:53):

Yeah, so we actually use this fresh database term. So I’ll talk about pretty quickly about the PII and all the scary stuff. So basically, it’s an opt-in process. So you get a email from one company that says, “Listen, we really liked you. It’s not a good fit for us, but we would like you to join this platform called Joonko that we partner with.” And then they can make a decision to opt in. Once they opted in, then they basically sign a consent to us getting their data. Otherwise, we’re not keeping the data.


William Tincup (06:27):



Ilit (06:28):

So this is for all the people that here, candidate the data that gets [inaudible 00:06:34]. So this is how we do it. And from the-


William Tincup (06:40):

Do they set up a profile at that point?


Ilit (06:43):

So they don’t set up a profile, we get their resume, the job they applied to, the job description they applied to. All through the company they came from. And this allows us to be in a position to understand what jobs are a good fit for.


William Tincup (07:02):

So, the upside to the company… You use PepsiCo, so we use PepsiCo. The upside to them is to use Joonko and to drive the folks that didn’t get an offer letter but we’re high quality and marginalized, are underrepresented. What’s their incentive to drive them into Joonko?


Ilit (07:26):

So they have a couple of drivers. One is user word… This is the only way to keep the database fresh and if they don’t give another other won’t give, then there is not going to be a shared network. And there are two other benefits. One is that saying no to a candidate is one thing and saying, “No, but I can actually help you land your next job,” is a completely two different approaches.


William Tincup (07:52):

That’s a good point.


Ilit (07:54):

And from a candidate experience, “Next time this company’s going to reach out to me, I’m actually going to be really grateful for what they did for me and way more likely to apply than a company who just ‘rejected’ me.” So this is one thing. The other thing is think about a black woman or Latinx person getting this email and say, “Okay, this company actually really cares about me as an underrepresented person.” And this word of mouth from a brand perspective is super, super important. Last but not least is, we keep those candidates fresh and up to date with the company. So next time a new opportunity in this company is going to open up, then really what’s going to happen is they will be more likely to talk with this company again.


William Tincup (08:45):

And that’s fresh in their ATS. So when you say fresh database, you’re keeping it up, you’re keeping it fresh, but you’re also freshening it in Greenhouse or Workday or whatever they’re using so that they can source from their own ATS?


Ilit (09:02):

Yeah, but not only. The fresh piece is also from perspective of the fact that we work constantly through the ATS.


William Tincup (09:15):



Ilit (09:16):

We constantly get candidates, so the database is super, super fresh. This is a candidate who yesterday got to know, so they really look for a job and based on the engagement level that we get from candidates, this is where we decide when we want to drop off and leave them alone because they’re not engaged anymore. So, either they found a job through the platform or not or they’re not looking for a job anymore. If they found a job through the platform, we know it. But any other case we don’t know. And what we do is 12 to 18 months later we try to reengage with them again knowing they’re potentially looking for another job. If they got a job through our platform, we are not going to engage it because we don’t try to steal from one customer to the other. But in any other case, we’ll try to next time and kind of say, “Hey, I know you haven’t looked for long but here is a great opportunity you might be interested.”

And then we also going to present maybe one, maybe two opportunities to just fill the water and get the best possible option for them and then try to see if the hook word or not.


William Tincup (10:25):

I really love this communication level that you’ve talked about in terms of, “Hey, you didn’t get this job that you applied to, however you were literally our second choice. We really, really liked you. There’s nothing else available right now, but if you go to Joonko and register, they’ll keep you up to date. And then, when something is fresh or something comes available on our site, then you’ll be notified,” or something thereabout. So I probably butchered that nine ways to Sunday, but how does that communication actually play out for your clients?


Ilit (11:06):

So it’s fully customized. So, different folks and different companies, different approaches for that, where they can decide what message they want to be sent to their candidate. So some people will really highlight the, “We care about underrepresented minorities.” Some people will just highlight the fact that they give them kind of like a jumping rope to the next place. Every company takes it in a different way to what they think will convey the best message for them. And also at the end of the day, until they opt in, they’re still the asset of the company. So we [inaudible 00:11:40] have the company the opportunity to treat them as they like.

But you can’t be on the platform without contributing anything. We decide at what stage do you consider high quality and be adjustable there. But once we put the line, every candidate that we identify as underrepresented, will get the email that you decide we are going to send them to.


William Tincup (12:02):

How do we verify the high quality parts so marginalized or underrepresented or there’s nine different ways that we can call that, right. Okay, that’s relatively easy to, I guess, just self-identify so we can find out that data and confirm that data. I think I understand that part, but I really want to ask you a bunch of Israeli army intelligence questions, but I’m not going to. Well, we’ll have to take that offline because I just want to… Fascinated. But how do we verify quality in the sense of your version of quality and my version of quality or perception of quality might be different. So how do you do that for clients? How do you normalize the data so that we know that it’s, quality is quality?


Ilit (12:56):

So first, there’s no one company that I ever spoke to that didn’t say, “Listen, but we have a special recruiting process,” [inaudible 00:13:05] exactly the same as any other company, so for everyone listening, I know you think you’re a snowflake.


William Tincup (13:11):

Oh yeah, oh yeah.


Ilit (13:11):

But your problems is probably way more similar than you think, to other folks, which makes the process much easier. So basically, we have a one single truth of five step process and we map every process of every candidate into those five. So sometimes-


William Tincup (13:31):

Take us through those five real quick. High level.


Ilit (13:35):

Application, recruiting interview, hiring manager interview, take home exam, maybe in person and an offer, something like that.


William Tincup (13:45):



Ilit (13:47):

So the standard out of the box that you get from NHS and then a lot of companies will have more stages, different names. Most of the time it’s just different names. So we have a good mapping system between different names that actually mean the same thing. So in office, in person, face to face, they’re still the same. So we’ll map this first and let’s say, you have a three stage process, one is going to match our first one, two is going to match our fourth one and three is going to match our five one. You have nine steps, so some steps are going to be bucket into one step in our case.


William Tincup (14:32):



Ilit (14:33):

But we are basically going to take the ones that got… Depending on, if it’s a 10 process stop and we have too many grouped into one stage, we’ll take only the last stage. But usually, you’re going to take the two steps that our process look like and everything that’s mapped to those two steps and call it silver medalist, in a way. This is the people who came second best, third best, maybe fifth best. But we’re not going to take people who only pass recruiter screening or recruiter interview. That’s for us one indicator of quality. But I think from a professional perspective, people are expecting more hands on work of team lead or hiring manager on the candidate to make sure that they match the job professionally and not just culture wise.


William Tincup (15:28):

I love all this by the way. Absolutely love all this. One question before we do some by side question is, is there anything that’s sussing out in the data so far in terms of verticals where Joonko really, really thrives or even positions, types of jobs, et cetera?


Ilit (15:45):

So we’re basically catering all what we call corporate or desk jobs. So if you’re a Walmart and you look for a store manager, that’s not us. If you look for an engineer or a marketing person, that’s definitely us. So this is a very high level and from a vertical perspective, I think our number one vertical that I think is also very, very surprising is financial services, credit card companies, banks, consultant firms, those kind of other companies. And I think the reason is, for me, was a surprise, although I’ve heard from multiple places where there are really early adopters is that I think when you think about a bank or a credit company, you’re like, “Okay, this is all giant dinosaurs and project for all people who work in those institutions.” There’ll be late adoption. And you think about the more techy Netflix, Atlassian type of companies as early adopters.

The problem is A; the Netflix and Atlassian of the world, everyone is chasing them and they only end up picking in one solution. And I say Netflix dollars and AMEX dollars are the same dollars. [inaudible 00:16:58] chase the one that people aren’t necessarily chase. So this is one thing, but also they are really early adopters And they are really progressive and I think the reason for that is, they sell to all those people and they understand that because they come through a bank, they open account, they understand it. And they understand they need to represent their customers internally, especially at the corporate level.

And for me, this was a big surprise to see how the good of an adoption we get through financial services and consulting services, in general. But we have consumer goods, obviously a lot of tax us platforms, entertainment, stores.


William Tincup (17:40):

Oh, cool. All around the world?


Ilit (17:44):

US only. So only especially because it’s one thing to apply to a San Francisco role and be in New York actually moving versus London and Paris.


William Tincup (17:54):

Right. Right.


Ilit (17:55):

Or London and Guatemala City. So it’s a little bit more complex when you look worldwide. So we are very, very focused on the US but also we’re focused on the US just from the nature of the topic and how open the discussion is with corporations and also how given the problem is in a way where you don’t need to convince them. Sometimes I feel like security companies need to convince on the problem harder than we do.


William Tincup (18:22):

Right. Right.


Ilit (18:23):

And here it’s like, let me tell you this, even if as a recruiter or director of talent acquisition or VP, I just don’t allow myself to say there is no problem because I know this is going to be leaking out somewhere. And even if I think so, I’ll never say it and not because it’s inappropriate or PC or whatever, I think it’s just you understand it as a corporation, you just can’t be in a position that says we don’t have a problem.


William Tincup (18:54):

Right. So let me ask you some by side stuff. Your favorite part of the demo, I call, it the aha moment. But when you take him through and you get them to a certain place, it’s like, “Okay, alright-y, now I get it. Now I know what Joonko…” “Okay, now I know why it’s important. Now let’s figure out budget and workflow and integrations and all the other fun stuff.” But what’s that part of the demo for you?


Ilit (19:21):

I think it’s the part where they understand they will not need many of these source candidates anymore.


William Tincup (19:27):

Yeah, I can see that especially high quality and marginalized or underrepresented.


Ilit (19:32):

People hate sourcing through LinkedIn or any other database platform and-


William Tincup (19:36):

Hundred percent.


Ilit (19:36):

… It’s so time consuming and the ROI for it is so low, if even exists. That-


William Tincup (19:45):

Well, if someone else has gathered high quality and underrepresented and these are interested parties, then that’s just the best of all worlds. Especially if, I mean most companies are trying to increase their diversity inclusion and I believe that. I believe there’s a lot of lip service in decades before and even years before. But I actually believe that people really do want more of a diverse slate of candidates. First of all, I love the platform, I think the value proposition to the candidates and to the companies is great.

Two final questions. One is, questions that practitioners should ask of you and Joonko because it is different, the value proposition is different than things in the marketplace. So what are questions that they should be asking you?


Ilit (20:41):

I think that they should be… Let’s start with what they shouldn’t be asking because I think people are sometimes really, really focused on understanding every line of the algorithm and how we match people.


William Tincup (20:51):

Oh yeah, yeah.


Ilit (20:53):

And I’m like why do you care?


William Tincup (20:55):

You should never care. I agree.


Ilit (20:58):

Why do you care that we have 2000 people here doing it manually? Why do you care? You’re not buying it for the magic, right? It’s not a magician show, but this is the thing they shouldn’t be, in my opinion ask. I’m happy to share it and sometimes I share very technical details and I think to myself, “They don’t even understand what I’m saying,” because I can be really, really technical and really good in [inaudible 00:21:22]. But why is this helping you? And I can’t say to a customer, I’ll just go ahead and explain and they try to challenge the algorithm and I’m like, “What are you doing? Why do you care?”

And I think they should be more focused on how much exposure do I get? What is the ROI I should expect 3, 6, 12 month in? Because sometimes people are like, “What should I expect on the first week?” Nothing. It’s the first week. It’s a recruiting process. You’re not going to make a hire on the first week. It’s going to take some time until you start getting candidates and an algorithm learn what you like and what you dislike based on your rejection and approval of candidates. It’s a process and it’s a long-term relationship and hopefully by the end of this 12 month prove that you can’t live without us. But that’s on us. And so focus on the ROI, I think a lot of recruiters are not used to ask our questions. They never ask themselves, “So what is the ROI of LinkedIn?” Because it’s like a given, you put money on LinkedIn and sometimes we’re able to prove our dollar worth way more than the dollar you put in LinkedIn.

And so, I think this is the stuff I need to be focusing on. “This is our KPIs, how are you going to help us meet them. Are KPIs are even reasonable? Sometimes people say we want to improve by 10%. I say “Okay, how many people?” 2000. “How many hires you plan to make this year? 300. You said to improve almost all of those people need to be underrepresented. So [inaudible 00:23:05] speaking, that’s not going to happen. So either fire tons of people or you change a goal. And I think this is where they need to leverage our knowledge to A; understand if your goal realistic to set up realistic goals based on your data. Sometimes we’ll take the data of the company like six months backwards and say, “Okay, this is your baseline, now lets KPIs based on that,” and really start putting themself in the ROI vehicle versus so how exactly those measures are working in. You connect to my data and I don’t want to share my data.

You plug in DocuSign and tons of other platforms that get access to your data and they couldn’t care less. And put aside a little bit of the fear from technology and emphasize on the ROI and the value that we bring to the table. And I think it will also make the sell internally way easier for you. Because if you are focusing on tech, and this is when you sharing internally with folks and you’re not the most techy people on the planet, this is where it’s becoming really, really complex. Because you can’t really [inaudible 00:24:12] all the questions.


William Tincup (24:13):

Right. Right. Okay, last question. Customer success stories without brand names, without logos and things like that. But just somewhere where somebody used Joonko in a way that even surprised you and just, you’re really satisfied. Again, you set out to kind of solve a problem and just, if you can tell us a story or two, that’d be great.


Ilit (24:38):

Sure. So two really quick two sentence stories and then one major one. So first one is we had a company that we saw, no one is responding to the reach out through the platform. Even though they applied, they never respond again. And we figured out they send all black folks rap songs as an introduction to the company, because they’re black. And I was like, “This is not going to work.” And the other story was we saw a huge customer success organization that all women failed that take home exam. And we brought it up with them and they said, “Listen, this is actually amazing because six months ago we changed the take home exam.

We would never be able to figure it out.” And we looked backwards a year and we saw exactly the drop. After they change it, they went back to the original test and everything went back to normal. So I think this is the things that I really like, which are super small, ‘has nothing to do with what we bring to the table originally’, but being flagged into the data and look at it in a more complete way is bringing this value to the table. We have a couple of companies that, 16 to 20% of their underrepresented minorities that they hired along the year came through Joonko, which is for me, the most important piece.

And two other major things that we usually see improving is time spent on sourcing, obviously, which generates a shorter time to hire. So usually, on average we’ll save about eight hours per week, per recruiter. So this is almost like a day per… Its 20% of the time. And a lot of success with more technical world in a non-techie companies. So Nike, Adidas, Walmart, those kind of companies where they’re not the top priority for an engineer. If you ask an engineer who is your top 10 companies or top 50 companies you want to work with, they’re probably not going to be there.


William Tincup (26:52):

Right, right. Not sexy enough. Yeah.


Ilit (26:56):

Yeah. And we are able to build with them a brand through engineers that they would want to work with. Because they do have cutting edge technology and they’re handling a lot of volume and there are a lot of technical challenges there. But when you think about a shoe you buy in a store, you don’t really think.


William Tincup (27:17):



Ilit (27:17):

But obviously there’s tons of technology behind it. Software, hardware, everything. So this is I think one of my favorite case studies, how we were able to and repeatably did it with other companies, being able to take those companies who doesn’t sound sexy for software engineer and say, “Oh my God, I really want to work there and create traction, in general really, really well, but also very specifically on underrepresented minorities.” So I think this is one of my favorite parts of the platform, is leveraging the power of the network and our understanding of what those folks looks like, to make those companies turning into a sexy engineering company for an engineer.


William Tincup (28:11):

Drops mic, walks off stage. Ilit, thank you so much. This has been wonderful, wonderful learning about your platform. You’re doing great work.


Ilit (28:19):

Thank you so much.


William Tincup (28:20):

And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case podcast. Until next time.


Announcer (28:25):

You’ve been listening to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up @recruitingdaily.com.

The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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